Empowering Your Children Through Art

A New Year of Education

Empowering Your Children Through Art

The mind of a child is a complex realm that’s often difficult for adults to understand. Children can  grapple with thoughts and feelings that resist verbal expression, making it difficult for parents to provide support and guidance. However, art can offer powerful insights into your child’s mind. Art serves as a safe medium for children to express their emotions and unspoken thoughts.

Whether through painting, sculpting, drawing, music, or other artistic forms, children can express what they cannot put into words through the various arts. In this article from Sandra Lee Arts, we’ll offer some tips and strategies to help you leverage art to improve your child’s emotional well-being and communication skills.

Young, old, and everyone in between can release emotions through art.  Art has the power to transform our innermost feelings into tangible, beautiful expressions.  And, even if the end result is art that looks less than beautiful to some can still hold powerful therapeutic value and healing for the artist.  Here are just a few ways to incorporate art into your education, stress release, and overall well being.

Consider Art Therapy

Art therapy can be valuable for children who have trouble expressing themselves. This is why art therapy is popular for children with developmental disabilities. According to Choosing Therapy, art therapy uses art to provide psychotherapy, typically as a method of enhancing other therapeutic techniques. The goal of art therapy is to enhance a child’s communication, trauma processing, emotion management, and cognitive functioning.  It also has scientifically proven value for people suffering from all types of trauma, and cognitive declines.

Purchase Health Insurance

Health insurance typically covers the cost of art therapy provided by fully-licensed practitioners, such as certified psychologists or psychiatrists. If you work as a freelancer and don't have health insurance, take a look at your options so you can get coverage for these therapies. For example, you could join the Freelancers Union to access health insurance plans and extended medical benefits.

Make Time for Creative Family Activities

To encourage your children to practice art, find ways to help them relax and channel their creative energy. For example, simple stress-busters like consulting a walk score map and going for a walk or playing with the family pet are beneficial for kids who need to unwind. Exploring nature through a leisurely walk not only promotes physical exercise but also stimulates the senses!  The outdoors and nature offer a non-stop visual of art and creative to see and later express.

Adventure Book suggests several other activities to promote creativity in your kids, including exploring new things, encouraging risk-taking, and seeking out a regular change of scenery by visiting new places or rearranging the rooms in your home.

Encourage Open-Ended Artistic Exploration

Encouraging open-ended artistic expression from your children is a wonderful way to foster their creativity and help them freely explore their thoughts and emotions. You can do this by providing a range of art supplies, such as paints, markers, clay, wire, colored pencils, and various textured materials to spark their imagination. Avoid offering your children specific instructions or guidance. Just give them free rein to create whatever they want! This is known as process-focused art and teaches children that there is no right or wrong way to explore and create.

Ask Your Children About Their Art

How you talk to your children about their art can encourage them to continue creating. The most important thing to remember is to let your children lead the discussion. Avoid telling your child what you think about their art, but instead, make observations and ask questions about different elements of the process. Your goal is to get your children to tell you what they think about their work.

If you sense fear, discomfort, or withdrawing from art activities, ask your children what bothers them about the art they are creating.  For example, my daughter admitted to me as an adult about how disturbing it was to ever “draw outside the lines” or “write on a page without lines.”  This could be pause for another art day, and another Blog post to address how many ways art can unlock fears in the psyche!

Avoid Empty Praise

As parents, it’s in our nature to praise our children when they create something. However, empty praise can undermine the authenticity of your comments and diminish the value of your child’s artistic efforts. Your children may even develop a reliance on external validation rather than seeking internal satisfaction. This can stifle their creativity and limit their ability to explore their own artistic voice. Instead of praising your child’s creative qualities or the art they produce, celebrate the effort involved and the steps that went into achieving the outcome.  Praise children for their positive feelings and expressions through their creations.

By encouraging your children to create art, you can unlock their inner worlds and provide a means for communication beyond words. Whether you decide to use your insurance to try art therapy or schedule more time for family activities like walks that promote creativity, you’ll empower your children to express themselves through the powerful medium of art!

Viewing the work of other artists can inspire your children to explore their own forms of artistic expression. Check out Sandra Lee Arts for original paintings, graphic art, and more! View and download the endless free art aids online like coloring pages, art activity pages, and much more. The great art news: Free art help is abundant!

Schools are cutting budgets left and right and art programs are one of the unfortunate throw aways in most schools with more focus on sports, new budget demands to protect students from school shootings, underpaid teachers leaving the system, politics, and more. So my suggestion, for what it’s worth, bring art into your home activities with your kids. Whether it’s drawing, coloring, painting, crafts, music, or whatever you choose ... help to expose your kids to the arts.  A side benefit is it is a great way to lessen “screen time” for all kids and their parents today. 

For more information on how to incorporate the healing love of art into your home, contact me at info@sandraLeeArts.com  I’m happy to help with ideas in any way I can.  Pour Your Art Out!!!

Many thanks to Amanda Hendersonamanda@safechildren.info for asking me to post this important and overlooked topic in schools and for children’s health today.  Please check out the great work they’re doing for kids at www.safechildren.info